Current Affairs Feb 13

National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA)


  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA) was initially launched in 2010-11 in 7 pilot States, which aims to achieve rapid development in India through use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for timely access to agriculture related information to the farmers.
  • In 2014-15, the scheme was further extended for all the remaining States and 2 UTs. The scheme has been extended up to 31.03.2021.
  • Realizing the significance of new digital & emerging technologies, the Committee on Doubling Farmers’ Income (DFI) has recommended further expanding and augmenting of the digital agriculture initiatives of Government of India.
  • The report focused on modern management of agriculture viz. Remote Sensing; Geographical Information System; Data Analytics and Cloud Computing; Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning; Internet of Things; Robotics, Drones & Sensors and Block-chain.
  • In order to infuse modern information technologies in the farm sector, the NeGPA guidelines were amended in 2020-21 and funds were released.
  • Several States have come forward to utilize this amended policy and accordingly pilot projects have been sanctioned in various States to make use of emerging technologies.

Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP):

            UFSP is a combination of Core Infrastructure, Data, Applications and Tools that enable seamless interoperability of various public and private IT systems in the agriculture ecosystem across the country. UFSP is envisaged to play the following role:

  • Act as a central agency in the agri ecosystem (like UPI in the e Payments)
  • Enables Registration of the Service Providers, public and private
  • Enables Registration of the Farmer Services G2F, G2B, B2F and B2B
  • Enforces various rules and validations required during the service delivery process
  • Acts as a Repository of all the applicable standards, API’s and formats
  • It shall also act as a medium of data exchange amongst various schemes and services to enable comprehensive delivery of services to the farmer.

 Farmers Database:

For better planning, monitoring, policy making, strategy formulation and smooth implementation of schemes for the farmers a nationwide Farmers Database linked with land records is being created with the following objective:

  • Develop nationwide database of farmers
  • Keep a record of unique farmers.
  • Unique farmer ID (FID) to uniquely identify a farmer
  • To know benefits availed by a farmer under various schemes
  • This Centralized Farmers Database shall be useful for various activities like issuing soil health cards, dissemination of crop advisories to the farmers, precision farming, smart cards for farmers to facilitate e-governance, crop insurance, settlement of compensation- claims, grant of agricultural subsidies, community/village resource centres etc.




Nutrition-Supportive Agriculture

Why in News?

  • The Government of India, the Government of Chhattisgarh and the World Bank signed a $100 million project to develop sustainable production systems that allow tribal households in remote areas of Chhattisgarh to practice round-the-year production of diversified and nutritious food.
  • CHIRAAG – Chhattisgarh Inclusive Rural and Accelerated Agriculture Growth Project will be implemented in the southern tribal-majority region of the state where a large population is undernourished and poor.
  • The project will benefit over 180,000 households from about 1,000 villages in eight districts of Chhattisgarh.
  • Chhattisgarh’s rich biodiversity and diverse agro-climatic zones provide an opportunity to focus on an alternative model of development allowing the tribal-dominated southern region to leverage its natural resources, diversify and grow resilient crops; and assure a production system that takes care of the nutritional needs of every household.
  • To make agriculture nutrition supportive, the project will implement a series of activities that are climate resilient and profitable.
  • Investments will be made in water-harvesting structures and irrigation facilities; integrated farming systems blending crops, fishery and livestock production; climate-smart production technologies and practices; developing value chains to ensure that surplus commodities reach profitable markets; and in making nutritious food available to tribal households.




Family Pensions Ceiling Enhanced

Why in News?

  • In a far reaching reform regarding family pensions the upper ceiling has been raised from Rs 45,000 to Rs 1,25,000 per month.


  • The move will bring “Ease of Living” for the family members of the deceased employees and would provide adequate financial security to them.

In accordance with sub-rule (11) of rule 54 of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules 1972,

  • In case both wife and husband are Government servants and are governed by the provisions of that rule, on their death, the surviving child is eligible for two family pensions in respect of the deceased parents.
  • Earlier instructions laid down that the total amount of two family pensions in such cases, shall not exceed to Rs 45,000/- per month andRs 27,000/- per month which were determined at the rate of 50% and 30%, respectively taking into account of the highest pay of Rs. 90,000/- as per 6th CPC recommendations.
  • Since the highest pay has been revised to Rs. 2,50,000 per month after the implementation of 7th CPC recommendations, therefore the amount prescribed in Rule 54(11) of CCS (Pension) Rules has also been revised to Rs 1,25,000/- per month being 50% of Rs.2,50,000/- and Rs 75000/- per month being 30% of Rs. 2,50,000/-.




India’s first Diesel-converted CNG Tractor

Why in News?

  • India’s first-ever diesel tractor converted to CNG, launched.


  • CNG is a Clean Fuel, as it has the lowest content of carbon and other pollutants.
  • It is economical as it has zero lead and is non-corrosive, non-dilutive and non-contaminating which helps in increasing the life of the engine and it requires less regular maintenance.
  • It is cheaper as CNG prices are far more consistent than fluctuating Petrol prices; also the average mileage of CNG vehicles is better than that of Diesel/Petrol driven vehicles.
  • India is 3rd largest energy consumer in the world but per capita consumption is only one-third of the global average.




Aqua Rejuvenation for Irrigation Unit

  • PURPOSE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY: It has been observed that most old Drainage systems are choked and have Improper Sanitation Infrastructure such as cracks in the Drain Surfaces.
  • This Sewage Water seeps down through the cracks and contaminates the soil and ground water.
  • In a recent study, it was observed that untreated sewage water is rampantly being used for agriculture, against NGT protocols, which may have adverse health consequences.
  • The effluents in household water discharge includes: organoleptic water pollutants such as colour, odour, pH, turbidity, TSS, TDS, oil & grease etc. along with some undesirable toxic compounds, and bacteriological components (E. Coli, Total Coliform etc.).
  • To remove the water contaminants & to purify the sewage water ,CSIR-CMERI developed innovative technology in combination with chemical & physical processes  such as
  1. Mechanical segregation & filtration,
  2. coagulation-flocculation techniques and
  3.  chemical/physical adsorption.
  • Aqua Rejuvenation Plant (ARP) comprehensively treats Waste Water, based upon diverse purification parameters.
  • The approx. 24,000 litres of Water that can be rejuvenated using ARP, will be sufficient for almost 4 acres of Agricultural Land (barring seasonal variations in water requirements).
  • The CSIR-CMERI developed technology is capable of removing all pollutants from sewage (below W.H.O recommended level) and based upon geographical variations they may be modified..


  • The methods of purification applied by CSIR-CMERI in this technology are Sedimentation (settlement of flocculated or coagulated particles), Filtration (process of removing solids from Liquid) and Aeration (Oxidation and Hydration). The Adsorbent media in the filtration components also plays a major role. They are abundantly available naturally and thus are easily source able.

The technology will help in solving two problems at one go:

In one hand it converts sewage water to potable water which may be used for agricultural purposes thereby conserving the fresh water resources on the other hand it helps to reduce the burden of pollutant enriched grey water converting it into potable one.

  • An integrated mechanical and physico-chemical treatment processes based water purification system for effective removal of sewage water contaminants.
  • The technology is economical in terms of maintenance and affordable in terms of operation.
  • Sustainability towards healthy livelihood generation
  • Selective backwash without dismantling any part of the plant; less cumbersome approach.




National Creche Scheme

  • Ministry of Women and Child Development implements the National Crèche Scheme for the children of working mothers as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme through States/ UTs with effect from 01.01.2017 to provide day care facilities to children (age group of 6 months to 6 years) of working mothers.

The Scheme provides an integrated package of the following services:

  • Day care facilities including sleeping facilities.
  • Early stimulation for children below 3 years and pre-school education for 3 to 6 years old children
  • Supplementary nutrition (to be locally sourced)
  • Growth monitoring
  • Health check-up and immunization      

As per the guidelines of this scheme, the concerned States/ UTs undertake survey based analysis of the requirement of crèche services at the district level along with mapping of existing crèches so as to assess the demand of crèches in State/ UTs.

Some of the steps taken by the Government in this direction as well as for increasing the participation of women in the economy include the following:

  • Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme: The scheme aims to facilitate inter-sectoral convergence of schemes and programs meant for empowerment of women both at the central and State/UT level.
  • SwadharGreh Scheme: The Scheme caters to women victims of unfortunate circumstances in need of institutional support for rehabilitation, so that they can lead their life with dignity.
  • Ujjawala Scheme: It is a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as for facilitating rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims in to their families and society as needed.
  • Working Women’s Hostel Scheme: This scheme promotes availability of safe and conveniently located accommodation for working women, with day care facility for their children, wherever possible, in urban, semi-urban, and even rural areas, where employment opportunities for women exist.
  • Anganwadi Services: The Scheme envisages setting up of Anganwadi centers across the country for children and caters to the pre-school education, nutrition of children and lactating mothers.
  • POSHAN Abhiyan: The scheme aims to reduce mal-nutrition/ under nutrition, among young children and women from the country in a phased manner.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) Scheme: The Scheme provides cash incentives amounting to Rs.5000 in 3 installments to pregnant and lactating mothers.
  • BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP): Objective of the scheme is to celebrate the girl child by preventing gender biased sex selective elimination, ensuring survival protection, education, and participation.
  • Home for Widows: A Home for Widows has been set up in Vrindavan, UP to provide widows a safe and secure place to stay and live their lives with dignity.




93% Bihar Ministers are millionaires

Why in News?

  • As many as 93% of Ministers in the State Cabinet are millionaires, and criminal cases are pending against 64% of them, said the latest Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report.


  • All 14 Ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) quota of the ruling National Democratic Alliance are millionaires; 11 of them face criminal cases; and eight are accused in serious criminal cases.
  • Nine out of the 11 Ministers belonging to the ruling alliance partner Janata Dal-United (JD-U) are millionaires, and four of them face criminal cases.
  • Eleven of the Ministers are below 50 years of age. Sixteen of them are graduate or above in their educational qualifications.
  • An earlier report by the ADR had said that nearly 68% of the members of the Bihar Legislative Assembly newly elected in 2020 from all parties had declared criminal cases pending against them, which was higher than the last Assembly poll held in 2015, when 58% of those elected had declared criminal cases pending against them in their affidavits.
  • Following a Supreme Court ruling, the ECI had, earlier, ordered all political parties to publish all details of their candidates on their websites, social media handles and in national newspapers as well.




Morse code

Why in News?

  • A new phishing campaign is using an old form of communication to hide malicious URLs in an email attachment.
  • Morse Code was a popular form of communication in the 1800s. It uses a code language in which each letter and number is encoded as a series of dots and dashes.
  • The threat actor started using Morse code last week to bypass mail gateways and filters by hiding malicious URLs.




A.P. tops in cocoa production

  • What started with a modest cultivation in 1990s has transformed Andhra Pradesh into a leading producer of cocoa in the country now.
  • Cocoa is being promoted as an intercrop in the State and the awareness about its profitability has been rising among coconut and palm farmers.
  • With improved technology and higher yields, the cross cultivation between coconut, arecanut and other palms has resulted in an increased profitability for farmers and popularity for the programme.


  • Cocoa is grown primarily as an intercrop in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala as the tree requires 40 to 50% shade. Coconut, arecanut, oil palm and rubber plantations are suited for an intercrop.





Why in News?

  • Now, India has its own gerbera varieties as scientists at the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) have developed six indigenous varieties of this flower, used extensively in decorations and bouquets.
  • Presently, all the 20 to 30 varieties of gerberas grown in the country are those from Holland. Farmers are paying about ₹40 per plant which includes a royalty of about ₹20.
  • Of the indigenous varieties, Arka Ashwa, Arka Nesara, Arka White, and Arka Pink are suitable for polyhouse cultivation and have been available for farmers from the last two years.
  • These varieties have tolerance to certain pests which would reduce the application of pesticides and also reduce the cultivation cost.




China’s Tianwen-1 probe

Why in News?

  • An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft recently successfully entered orbit around Mars after a 6-1/2-month journey from Earth.
  • In about three months, the Tianwen-1 will attempt to send a landing capsule carrying a 240-kilogram rover in a rapid seven-minute descent onto a massive plain in the northern hemisphere of Mars known as Utopia Planitia.
  • If the landing is successful, the solar-powered rover will explore the Martian surface for 90 days, studying its soil and seeking signs of ancient life, including any sub-surface water and ice using a ground-penetrating radar.
  • Tianwen-1, or “Questions to Heaven”, the name of a Chinese poem written two millennia ago, is China’s first independent mission to the planet after a probe co-launched with Russia failed to leave the Earth’s orbit in 2011.
  • The probe is one of three reaching Mars this month. The Hope spacecraft launched by the United Arab Emirates successfully entered the planet’s orbit recently.
  • Hope will not make a landing but will orbit Mars gathering data on its weather and atmosphere.
  • In the United States’ most ambitious Mars mission, the 1-tonne Perserverance probe is expected to arrive on February 18. It will immediately attempt a landing in a rocky depression with precipitous cliffs called Jezero Crater.